Showing posts with label Trump White House. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trump White House. Show all posts

December 30, 2018

John Kelly Confirms Everything on The Anonymous Op-ed About Trump was True





By Aaron Blake
Washington Post

A few months ago, a senior Trump administration official wrote a controversial anonymous op-ed in the New York Times that said forces within the administration were working to rein in President Trump’s potentially damaging whims.
In a recent interview, Trump’s departing chief of staff basically confirmed that’s exactly what has happened for the past two years.
In the phone interview Friday, Kelly defended his rocky tenure, arguing that it is best measured by what the president did not do when Kelly was at his side.
Kelly admits he wasn’t consulted much before Trump, shortly after he was inaugurated, banned travel from several majority-Muslim nations. At the time, Kelly was the secretary of homeland security — the department in charge of instituting the ban that turned chaotic.
“I had very little opportunity to look at” the orders before they were issued, Kelly said. “Obviously, it brought down a greater deal of thunder on the president.”  
Kelly suggested he and others stopped Trump from withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan. (A partial pullout from Afghanistan appears likely, however, following a decision by the president this month, though senior U.S. military officers have said they have received no orders.)
“When I first took over, he was inclined to want to withdraw from Afghanistan,” Kelly said, adding: “He was frustrated. It was a huge decision to make . . . and frankly there was no system at all for a lot of reasons — palace intrigue and the rest of it — when I got there.” 
Kelly also defended those serving Trump as delivering him the right information, even if it might be disregarded.
“It’s never been: The president just wants to make a decision based on no knowledge and ignorance,” Kelly said. “You may not like his decision, but at least he was fully informed on the impact.”  
Kelly’s words are not exactly a ringing endorsement of Trump’s decisions; they’re covering for Trump making decisions that officials didn’t like. He’s basically saying, “We tried to tell him!” 
Kelly also distanced himself from the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border, blaming then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions for a zero-tolerance border policy that resulted in the separations — a policy marked by the deaths of two children who were in U.S. custody. As with the travel ban, Kelly suggests he was blindsided.
“What happened was Jeff Sessions — he was the one that instituted the zero-tolerance process on the border that resulted in both people being detained and the family separation,” Kelly said. “He surprised us.” 
Kelly is perhaps more diplomatic than the anonymous senior administration official. He was also more subtle than former secretary of state Rex Tillerson, who a few weeks ago said Trump was “undisciplined, doesn’t like to read” and tried to do illegal things but was often thwarted by those around him
But at the core of Kelly’s comments was the same thing: a top Trump administration official suggesting that the political novice in the White House makes decisions with his gut and without much regard for the information that the smart people around him try to give him. The idea that Kelly regards his biggest success as standing in Trump’s way is a pretty strong indictment of Trump as a person and of his presidency. It is also perhaps a warning of what’s to come as Trump is increasingly surrounded by yes-men and -women.
All of these are the comments of a man who knows his legacy will be tied to Trump — and who isn’t entirely comfortable with that. The Times asked him about exactly that in its ending:
Asked why he stayed 18 months in the White House, despite policy differences, personality clashes, the punishing schedule, and a likely lasting association with some of Trump’s controversies, he said simply: duty.
“Military people,” he said, “don’t walk away.”

March 7, 2018

Federal Agencies Including HUD (B.Carson) Are Sued for Quietly Altering their Stances on LGBT




 Sleepy Ben Carson only seemed sleepy because he was quiet awake while quietly changed  the
 LGBT Inlusions clauses for HUD. He has the same religious believes as Mike Pence. These so caled Christians think the way to heaven is to make the life of people they don't agre with, particularly the poor, miserable.

  
A progressive advocacy group filed a lawsuit in federal court last week against the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD), calling for them to publicly disclose documents related to changing federal policy toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
"The agencies should be ordered to release all records relating to or consisting of decisions or directives to remove references to ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning,’ ‘LGBT,’ or ‘LGBTQ’ individuals from agency materials concerning efforts to combat problems of homelessness, discrimination, and sex trafficking," the lawsuit, filed on Feb. 28 by the nonprofit People for the American Way, stated.
 The organization filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the agencies failed to comply with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that Right Wing Watch, a project of People for the American Way, sent in September.“There’s absolutely no reason why these agencies should refuse to release these documents,” Elliot Mincberg, a senior fellow at People for the American Way, said in a statement. “The public has a right to know what directives are being handed down that resulted in LGBTQ people being written out of federal programs and activities."
"These under-the-radar changes can have a massive effect on the way our government works, and it appears Trump administration officials are trying to create secret agency laws in order to push their extreme agenda," he added. "That’s simply not permissible. We have a right to see these documents, and we’re going to court to get them.”
On Sept. 20, Right Wing Watch sent a FOIA request to HUD seeking records related to three reported actions, according to the lawsuit: "the removal from HUD's website of materials that helped train homeless shelters on ensuring they provided equal access to transgender individuals"; "the cancellation of a survey of pilot programs designed to decrease LGBT homelessness" in Cincinnati and Houston; and "a directive to the Policy Development and Research division of HUD not to participate in a study of LGBT housing discrimination."
 Secretary Ben carson of Human Development and Research (part of HUD)


 Housing    


The FOIA requested followed a New York magazine articlepublished in August that outlined the reported actions above, and a July request by 28 senators asking HUD Secretary Ben Carson to do more to protect LGBTQ people from housing discrimination and expressing concern about the removal of references to LGBTQ people in its programming.
In the U.S., approximately 1.6 million youth experience homelessness each year, and an estimated 40 percent of these young people identify as LGBTQ, according to True Colors Fund, a nonprofit working to end LGBTQ youth homelessness. And a 2017 University of Chicago study found LGBTQ youth are 120 percent more likely than their straight and cisgender (non-transgender) counterparts to be homeless.
“For many young people … these [HUD] resources can sometimes make the difference between life and death — getting into a safe housing program or remaining in a vulnerable situation," Ellen Kahn, director of the Human Rights Campaign's Children, Youth and Families program, told NBC News.
Kahn said HUD's alleged removal of transgender-inclusive training materials for homeless shelter staff members allows service providers who are not interested in providing care for LGBTQ youth "off the hook."
“It gives people an opportunity to turn their back on this particularly vulnerable group of young people,” she said, adding that HUD's actions "essentially disappear a population that is disproportionately affected by homelessness.” 
On Sept. 15, five days prior to its HUD request, Right Wing Watch sent a FOIA request to the DOJ seeking access to any records relating to the removal of references to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth from a solicitation for grant proposals for the Mentoring for Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Domestic Sex Trafficking Initiative, which funds programs that serve juvenile victims of sex trafficking.
“In 2016, the grant application material had specific references LGBTQ youth, and sure enough, those references were gone in 2017,” Mincburg told NBC News. According the lawsuit, the DOJ has failed to respond to the FOIA requests despite repeated emails.
Mincburg stressed that changes in federal policy related to LGBTQ people and the removal of language that specifically mentions the community should raise red flags.
"They’re clearly sending a message that these programs are not going to be available for LGBTQ people," he said, adding that "the American people are entitled to transparency about what the U.S. government is doing.”
Mincburg claimed HUD and the DOJ are not the only federal agencies quietly altering their stances on LGBTQ inclusion. His organization, he noted, has also filed a FOIA request with the Department of Health and Human Services.
A spokesperson for HUD told NBC News the department does not discuss pending litigation, and DOJ spokesperson Devin O’Malley declined to comment.

February 10, 2018

WH Needs a Replacement for Porter and if Kelly Likes him No Security Clearance Needed



 Kelly and His man Porter

Kelly is a lier but he works for a President who lies all the time. Is it a requirement for working for a lier you have to be one be one yourself? It seems that way. We knew people in government lied and politicians lied. What we never saw or allowed to be seen as people high up in the government lying right in front of us on TV.  Kelly said he didn't know about this problem of having a wife beater working for him...lie!  He knew about it because the FBI knew it and reported it to his office. He is either very thick like his boss or doesn't read, just like his boss. People were so excited when Kelly was named the chief of staff. They thought they would straighten out the Trump's White House.
Why would Trump not pick someone that was in line with his ways of doing business (Kelly)? 
Kelly had a guy without a security clearance working in the highest places in the White House  Kelly allowed this and the question is did Trump know? did he care? Still, Kelly stuck his face on TV and said 'this was the first he heard about it' Not true.
Trump's son in law won't get a permanent security clearing because of the flags raised by the FBI but then He is the this President son in law and the President ignores this fact.  But Porter was no family of the President. Why then having given a promotion after the FBI sent a report about him beating his wife to the WH. and be kept there. They could not find a replacement. Well, Kelly liked him so he stayed.  Adam

Sources close to the White House say chief of staff John Kelly has suffered a serious blow to his standing from the bungled resignation of staff secretary Rob Porter, who has been accused of domestic abuse. 

Kelly’s most vehement critics even suggest the episode could herald his demise within the administration. 

“We’ll see this as an inflection point when he is fired,” said one source within President Trump’s orbit. The source, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, blasted Kelly as “tone deaf and politically inept.”

A second source close to the Republican Party complained, regarding Kelly, that “everybody knows he limits access and information flow to POTUS on a daily basis; this could be the beginning of the end of that — and maybe Kelly as chief.” 
Such predictions can be motivated in part by personal rivalries. Some people who had become accustomed to having relatively free-flowing access to Trump have found their contact sharply reduced since Kelly replaced Reince Priebus as chief of staff last July. 

But Kelly's woes deepened late Thursday when The Washington Post reported that White House counsel Don McGahn had first informed Kelly of the abuse allegations against Porter last fall. Instead of firing Porter, according to the Post, Kelly gave him a bigger role.

White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah insisted that Kelly retained Trump’s full confidence during a media briefing on Thursday. 

But Shah had a thankless task in trying to defend a White House, and a chief of staff, that had expressed total confidence in Porter amid allegations of domestic abuse by two ex-wives — only to cut him loose within hours. 

In a statement sent via the White House pool reporter at 3:54 p.m. Wednesday, Porter was praised as “effective in his role.” The statement added, “the President and Chief of Staff have full confidence in his abilities and his performance.” 

At 9:31 p.m., a statement under Kelly’s name was released, noting that he had accepted Porter’s resignation and that “there is no place for domestic violence in our society.” 

The furor is so politically explosive in part because the allegations are so disturbing. Both of Porter’s ex-wives have alleged that he was physically abusive to them.  

The Daily Mail’s website published photos of his first wife, Colbie Holderness, with a bruised eye. She said the injury had been inflicted by Porter, whom she accused of punching her while they were on vacation in Italy. His second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, told the same news organization that Porter had pulled her from the shower to scream at her. 

In a statement that was read aloud at the White House media briefing on Wednesday, Porter called the allegations “simply false” and “vile.”  

But those allegations also seemingly stopped Porter from getting a security clearance, even though he had daily access to the president. Shah said Porter was working under an interim clearance and insisted that the full clearance was never denied. "His background investigation was ongoing," he said.

The difficulties for the White House were further complicated because Porter is reported to be dating Hope Hicks, the communications director and one of Trump’s closest aides. Shah said Hicks had recused herself from some discussions regarding the matter. 

Kelly was initially emphatic in his defense of Porter. Kelly at first told the Daily Mail that Porter was “a man of true integrity and honor” and added that he was “proud to serve alongside him.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So there’s another vacancy in the outstandingly successful Trump administration. White House staff secretary Rob Porter either resigned or was fired this week following allegations he assaulted both of his former wives.

Porter joins an impressively long list of people who have left or been ejected from the administration, including but not limited to national security adviser Michael Flynn; deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh; deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland; National Security Council deputy chief of staff Tera Dahl; assistant press secretary Michael Short; chief of staff Reince Priebus; chief strategist Stephen Bannon; deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka; William Bradford, director of the Energy Department’s Office of Indian Energy; director of Health and Human Services Tom Price; Jamie Johnson, director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships; Office of Drug Control Policy deputy chief of staff Taylor Weyenet; press secretary Sean Spicer; special adviser Carl Icahn; and Office of Public Liaison director of communications Omarosa Manigault. 

These departures, along with more than 20 others, stemmed from issues ranging from embellished background credentials to past racist comments to lying about contacts with Russians to conflicts of interest to disagreements with the administration.

No presidency has ever had this kind of turnover in its first year, which is probably why no presidency has ever been as totally fantastic and smooth-running as this one.

And just as Porter is leaving, there’s a good chance current chief of staff John Kelly — who reportedly knew about the allegations against Porter since last year and allowed the man to continue handling classified information even though he couldn’t get a security clearance — will be the next one out the door.

It’s all perfect because the key thing people want from their government is abject chaos. Any political scientist will tell you that entropy breeds success.

With that in mind, I’ve prepared an advertisement White House officials can use to promote their new opening and attract the perfect candidate.

This should immediately be posted on the White House’s website, on Ashley Madison, the dating site for people interested in extramarital affairs, and on the walls of correctional facilities across the country:

“Have you always dreamed of being part of something you are in no way qualified, professionally or morally, to handle? Do you love America so much that you would sacrifice time and what little integrity you have to work for her in the hope of raising your profile or unethically enriching yourself?

“If you answered yes to either of those questions or if you recently had a restraining order taken out against you, the Trump Administration might be the place for you. And the good news is … WE’RE HIRING!

“That’s right, thanks to the recent departure and/or indictment of one of our exemplary colleagues, we are looking for a fresh voice to help us MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

“Are you a former reality television star who was despised by viewers? Have you ever spent long evenings anonymously posting online comments detailing your views on the superiority of the white race?

“Do you think President Donald Trump is unbelievably awesome and perfect, and are you willing to tell him that every day or even multiple times a day?

“Then you may already be more than qualified to join our team and jovially mishandle classified information that people risked their lives to obtain. And you’ll get a free hat!

“At the Trump Administration, we want REAL people, not snooty experts or idealistic dreamers who think they can make the world a better place.

“To answer these questions: Are you hopelessly self-centered or toxically masculine? Have you freely associated with agents of unfriendly foreign countries without understanding why that’s such a big deal? Will you do just about anything to ‘trigger the libs?’

“Then you need to contact us right away and see if you qualify — YOU DO! — for a spot in the greatest administration in the history of America and probably everywhere else.

“Benefits include very little actual work, regular opportunities for lying, a comfortable spot on the wrong side of history, free vials of immigrant tears, backstabbing training and zero job security.

“Must be fluent in hypocrisy and lack any sense of self-awareness. No spelling or grammar skills necessary.

“Stupid losers and people from ‘shithole’ countries need not apply.”

rhuppke@chicagotribune.com
Chicago Tribune

adamfoxie Celebrating 10 years of keeping on eye on the world for You

adamfoxie.blogspot.com brings you the important LGBT news others ignore. Does not repost from gay sites [except out.sports.com only when importat athlete comes out].Will post popular items with a different angle or to contribute to our readers

February 9, 2018

Secretary of HUD Ben Carson* What Has He Been Up to Besides Taking Apocalypse

Since Trump wanted to pay him back (Ben Carson), since that is the way 'The Geius' works. Not by your background to do the job but what favors have you done (money or otherwise) for Trump. Cason Needed to be paid back because he stopped his campaign to be President and backed Trump. Trump was not going to appoint him to something He (Trump) saw as sensitive like Secretary of State but instead something the Donald did not care about like Urban Develpment. The last time Trump was heavily involved in Urban Develpment he would not put Blacks in his apartment in Manhattan but would send them to Brooklyn instead. So Sleepy Ben Carson would be just perfect. Under Trump's view he has become just that perfect and never rocks the boat. He talks about soemthing that Trump's followers  hope they misss, which turns out a plus somewhere in that 35% of his supporters. They are conservative Christians which beleive Christ will come back any second and the rest will go thru the Apolcalypse. Adam
*Early in his tenure, Carson made headlines for suggesting that one public housing complex might be too comfortable and for getting stuck in an elevator while touring another. Then he went so quiet you’d be forgiven for thinking he never made it out*
 Think Big! But don't let people see you in case yu stop thinking at all or fall sleep


It was Christmastime in Washington, and Ben Carson couldn’t stop talking about the apocalypse.
“Did you know,” the secretary of housing and urban development asked his acting chief of staff, Deana Bass, at a Capitol Hill holiday party, “that if North Korea detonated a nuclear weapon into our exosphere, it could take out our entire electrical grid?”
Bass shook her head.
“What’s that movie where there’s complete lawlessness and anarchy for one night a year?” Carson said, calmly resting his right hand over his left. “ ‘The Purge’! It will be like ‘The Purge’ all the time.”
Carson is an acclaimed neurosurgeon who oversees a large government agency for which he has no particular qualifications and in this way represents the grand theme of the Trump administration. He, like the president, came to power by promising that an outsider would have the “common sense” it takes to cure what ails us. And so, while conservative gadfly Armstrong Williams played host to this party at the Monocle restaurant, it was Carson everyone came to see.
“There’s never been a time in the history of the world where a society became divided like this and did well,” Carson said as a crowd — including an off-duty New York Times reporter, D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, a slew of representatives from housing nonprofit organizations and old friends from his presidential campaign — circled him. “And we don’t really have a reason to be fighting each other. There was a movie some years ago, a Will Smith movie called ‘Independence Day’ . . .”
With his soothing, story-time cadences and heavy-lidded gaze, Carson proceeded to hold forth on how Earth’s near-annihilation laid bare the superficiality of all the world’s strife. If only, he argued, people realized that the fate of humanity hung in the balance, then Palestinians and Jews, or even the United States and Russia, could be “like best friends.”
Carson has been telling stories about a dystopian future ever since he got into politics. In 2014 he warned audiences that if Republicans didn’t win back the Senate, there might not even be an election in 2016. And when there was an election in 2016, Carson ran for president with a simple message: Democrats and career politicians were taking the country on a dark path.
In his new role, Carson still sees himself as a warrior against impending doom, but he’s battling contradictions on the side. He wants to be a good steward for an agency he calls the “philanthropic” arm of the government, even if he doesn’t think of the government as a philanthropy. He wants to clean up the swamp but finds himself swimming in ethically murky water. 

Carson is a man torn by differing impulses. And nearly a year into the job, it’s unclear whether he’s fighting the chaos or helping create it. The president-elect felt otherwise. Trump met with Carson multiple times and even called his wife, Candy, so insistent on bringing him on board that Carson’s friends joked he should ask for the secretary of state position.
The initial reports stated that Carson picked HUD because he had grown up in public housing. In fact, he had grown up only “near” public housing. It’s a significant distinction. When Carson thinks back to the families he knew who relied on government assistance, he doesn’t think of them as saved by a social safety net, but as captives.  

“The people who put all these programs in place meant well,” he said. “They had no intention of entrapping people and making them dependent.”
By accepting the nomination, Carson — who by his telling grew up poor but became a world-famous surgeon and best-selling author through sheer determination (and, yes, the help of food stamps) — set out to run an agency designed specifically to help bootstrap-yanking.
For a man who preaches his life story as a parable for self-reliance, it’s an odd fit. The agency oversees more than 1.2 million public housing units, helps subsidize mortgages and fights segregation in the housing market. Carson might not have known the extent of what HUD did when he accepted the nomination. But any initial worry about his ability to do the job disappeared quickly.
“Compared to pediatric surgery,” Carson said of his new job, “it’s nothing.”
It’s also, he quickly found, nothing like pediatric surgery.

Carson tours a residential unit at Hope Center, a facility for homeless people in Lexington, Ky. (Philip Scott Andrews/For The Washington Post)
Early in his tenure, Carson made headlines for suggesting that one public housing complex might be too comfortable and for getting stuck in an elevator while touring another. Then he went so quiet you’d be forgiven for thinking he never made it out. 

This was a different kind of role for Carson, who has been in-your-face famous for years. (Before becoming a Fox News contributor and later a presidential candidate, Carson was played by Cuba Gooding Jr. in one movie and played himself in another, a Farrelly brothers comedy about conjoined twins.)
Carson’s low profile was a relief for HUD employees. The alternative, as showcased by a few other Cabinet secretaries, seemed to be overexposure by way of dubious usage of private jets, undisclosed conflicts of interest and photos in front of sheets of paper currency.
Yet certain rumblings began early on when employees and journalists noticed that he was frequently bringing his wife and son, Ben Jr., to the office.
“At one point, Candy seemed to be coming in every day,” said a former HUD employee. “There’s this glass door on the 10th floor, where the secretary’s office is. It used to be they would keep it open, but they started keeping it closed. The family would go in and then freeze everyone else out.”
Was Carson relying on family members for advice over professionals? Or was Ben Jr., who owns an investment firm that specializes in infrastructure, wielding interest over decisions that might benefit his company?
“That is such crap,” said Carson in a recent interview from his office. “There’s nothing to find. It’s ridiculous.”
Part of why Carson might have wanted to surround himself with family: He was otherwise mostly alone. It took months for Congress to approve much of his team, and many Trump officials came into their jobs suspicious of civil servants and Obama administration holdovers. It was, by Carson’s own account, a “difficult time.”
Carson’s reliance on his family, however, risked running afoul of federal ethics rules. A story last week in The Washington Post reported that top HUD lawyers repeatedly warned the secretary against allowing his relatives to put people with whom they might have current or future business ties on the guest list for events. He ignored those warnings.
In one case, Carson’s son invited an administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to an event in Baltimore; three months later CMS awarded a $485,000 contract to his wife’s company.
Carson has ordered an internal investigation into the matter and maintains that his son “dots every ‘i’ and crosses every ‘t’ to make sure he stays 10 feet away from anything I’m doing.” But these days, both Jr. and Candy are staying even farther than that from the HUD building.
“In the beginning you don’t always know the rules of engagement,” said Williams. “It’s a learning curve for everybody. They realized that just the presence of being there brings scrutiny.” 
As HUD secretary, Carson preaches the same conservative strain of self-reliance that he sprinkled throughout his 1990 memoir, “Gifted Hands,” only now he’s trying to apply it to a government agency. He’s got the same God complex that many surgeons have (Carson owns a painting of himself hanging out with Jesus), even as a humble public servant. And he still smiles at his ability to set off the “PC police” — past run-ins include the times he seemed to compare health care to slavery and homosexuality to pedophilia — only now he tries to keep his opinions to himself.
“I have to admit, it felt good when you would say something inflammatory and everybody would go, ‘Yeah!’ ” said Carson. “But what good does that do?”
It’s a message he’s tried to relay to Trump. After Trump refused to condemn racists at a Charlottesville protest, and after reports that the president had referred to African and Latin American nations as “shithole countries,” Carson made public statements about how such language wasn’t “helpful.”
But Carson hasn’t been able, either publicly or privately, to persuade Trump to tone it down. He talks to the president on a weekly basis, but it’s unclear whether he can get him to listen. He hasn’t been able, for example, to keep the president from trying to shrink HUD.
“I wasn’t happy,” Carson said when the Office of Management and Budget suggested a $6 billion cut at the $46 billion agency. “I’ve made many trips back and forth to OMB to talk about it. . . . There’s still some differences of opinion there.”
Presidential candidate Carson might have felt differently, but a funny thing happens to a person’s thoughts on slashing government spending when suddenly part of that government is under his control.
“The thing that looms largest is making sure the budget to the most feeble among us is not cut,” said Williams. “If they cut that budget from 10 to 18 percent, I don’t think he’ll stay there.”
That sentiment might come as a surprise to many of the people working inside HUD, a massive brutalist building in L’Enfant Plaza, where Carson has kept a quiet presence. Many employees say they rarely see the secretary, and when he does address groups of more than 10 people, he requires a microphone because of his soft voice.
“There is no real agenda, and it’s certainly out of the ordinary even for a Republican administration,” said Gustavo Velasquez, an Urban Institute fellow who served for nearly three years as assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity in the Obama administration. “Many offices have been decimated. It’s preposterous.”
This is a continued deterioration of HUD, which during the Reagan administration had more than 16,000 employees but by the end of the Obama years had about 8,000. Meanwhile, last year, for the first time since 2010, homelessness levels ticked up nationwide.
Still, many HUD employees have quietly admitted that they feel almost lucky. While other Cabinet-level appointees have the will and knowledge to unravel the administrative state — Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency or Ryan Zinke at Interior — it’s unclear if Carson really knows how to find the various self-destruct levers or if he’d even want to pull them.
“Basically, benign neglect is the best way to describe it right now,” said Juli獺n Castro, the previous HUD secretary.
And recently, just as folks have been leaving the agency, Carson has finally been successful in filling out his team, including many longtime civil servants who have worked there before and a deputy secretary who by many accounts runs the day-to-day operation of the place.
“He’s learning that he does need the swamp,” says Williams. “It’s not always the answer to drain the swamp. Sometimes you need to feed it.”

“Benign neglect” is the assessment of previous HUD Secretary Juli獺n Castro, of the agency under Carson, shown here touring an affordable housing nonprofit in Lexington, Ky. (Philip Scott Andrews/For The Washington Post)
‘Racism is like pornography,” Carson told about 20 HUD employees at a Kentucky field office, leaning on a lectern with a smirk curling his neatly trimmed mustache. “You know it when you see it.”
Weeks earlier, Carson decided to delay a measure to strengthen a civil-rights-era requirement for local governments to take active steps to undo racial segregation. When Carson was campaigning for president he pointed to this measure — crafted during the Obama administration to help the Fair Housing Act of 1968 live up to its mission — as an example of “social engineering.” Now, as HUD secretary, he said the rule should be paused because it was too burdensome on local governments. Plus, as he pointed out with his analogy, it shouldn’t take a bunch of bureaucrats to recognize racism (or nudie films, for that matter).
The move didn’t come as a surprise to anyone who was paying attention. The only surprise was that it took so long.
“People here are excited about him, but things haven’t really changed much down here,” said a Kentucky staffer after Carson’s visit. “We’re still mostly waiting on our marching orders.”
Without many specifics to ask him about, the first polite question posed to Carson during the Q&A: “Do you miss being a surgeon?” Later, Carson autographed copies of his books.
The trip to Kentucky gave some hints of the direction he hopes to take the department. He spoke with his staff about ramping up the rollback of regulations. He toured a number of public-private transitional homeless shelters — places that provide short-term tenants with job training and substance-abuse programs in hopes of putting them back on their feet.
“The goal,” he said, “shouldn’t be to increase the number of people on government assistance but to increase the number of people we get off of government assistance.”
 

adamfoxie Celebrating 10 years of keeping an eye on the world for You

adamfoxie.blogspot.com brings you the important LGBT news others ignore. Does not repost from gay sites [except out.sports.com only when importat athlete comes out].Will post popular items with a different angle or to contribute to our readers
  

January 16, 2018

For Every Trump Associate Who Testified Before Congress A Prick on His Balloon is Heard







As the Special Counsel's Russia probe intensifies — narrowing in on 13 categories and charging individuals like  Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn — there are still several ongoing congressional investigations into Trump's associates and Russia's influence in the 2016 election. Steve Bannon testified Tuesday before the House Intelligence Committee, and was subpoenaed last week by Robert Mueller to testify before a grand jury, per the NYT. 
Why it matters: Bannon's testimony is highly anticipated after Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury" was released, in which Bannon was quoted as describing Donald Trump Jr.'s
2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer "treasonous."
Here's every Trump associate who's testified before Congress that Axios is aware of:Jeff Sessions, Trump's attorney general, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee June 13 and before the House Judiciary Committee November 14, where he would not answerquestions about Trump's ability to pardon the likes of Manafort and Gates. 
Michael Caputo, a former top Trump campaign adviser with ties to the Kremlin, testified before the House Intelligence Committee July 14 in a closed session for more than three hours, per CNN.
  • Jared Kushner, Trump's senior advisor and son-in-law, testified before the Senate and House Intelligence committees in closed sessions late July.
  • Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee July 25.
  • JD Gordon, the Trump campaign's national security adviser in the policy office, met with the Senate and House Intelligence committees in July, according to a source with direct knowledge.
  • Donald Trump Jr., Trump's eldest son, gave testimony before Senate investigators from the Senate Intelligence Committee September 7 and returned December 13.
  • Roger Stone, a longtime Trump ally who informally advised his campaign, testified before the House Intelligence Committee September 26. The testimony via The Washington Post.
  • Boris Epshteyn testified before the House Intelligence Committee September 28, per CNN.
  • Michael Cohen, Trump's lawyer, appeared before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees in October, per NBC. The committee canceled the original September 19 meeting since he broke an agreement not to release a public statement before the meeting.
  • Keith Schiller, Trump's long-time body guard, testified privately in early November before the House Intelligence Committee, CNN reports.
  • Steve Bannon talked to the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors on January 16, CNN reports.
Rod Rosenstein, Trump's deputy attorney general, testified before the House Judiciary Committee in December, saying he doesn't believe it was improper of FBI or special counsel members taking part in the Russia investigation to have donated to Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, Axios' Alayna Treene reported. He also told the Committee he doesn't think there's "good cause" for firing Mueller.
Loose ends:
  • Manafort has agreed to additional interviews with the Senate Intelligence Committee, per the AP. The Senate Judiciary Committee agreed to subpoena documents from Manafort late September, and may use subpoena power to get him to testify, per The Washington Post. He's not been responsive to committee requests, per members on the committee.
  • Trump Jr. has agreed to give documents, answer questions, and appear openly for the Senate Judiciary Committee, per Chairman Chuck Grassley.
  • Brad Parscale, the digital director for Trump's campaign, agreed in July to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, per CNN.
  • President Trump: The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Eric Swalwell, said the committee may need Trump himself to testify soon. Trump in June said he is "100%" willing to testify under oath about his conversations with his fired FBI Director James Comey.
  • Corey Lewandowski: The Senate Judiciary Committee requested documents from Trump's former campaign manager, and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, per Politico.
  • Rob Goldstone, the publicist behind that meeting, said he hasn't heard from Congressional investigators.
Other key players:
  • Carter Page, a foreign policy advisor who was a recruitment target of a Russian spy, reportedly announced October 10 he will plead the Fifth Amendment and not cooperate with the Senate Intelligence Committee. Originally he had volunteered to be interviewed by the committee in March but in May said he had heard his testimony, originally scheduled for June, was postponed. The committee later announced it would determine the pace of taking testimony.
  • Glenn Simpson, the founder of the firm that helped draft the Trump dossier, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a private session August 22. Senator Richard Blumenthal said he wanted the testimony transcript to be made public.
  • Bill Browder, who lobbied Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act in 2012, meant to punish Russian officials, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee July 27.
  • Michael Flynn: Trump's fired National Security Advisor, asked for immunity in March to testify before the Senate and House Intelligence Committees (and the FBI) and later invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in his refusal to answer a subpoena to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
  • Natalia Veselnitskaya: The Russian lawyer at the Trump Tower meeting with Trump Jr., Manafort, and Kushner, said she would be willing to testify before Congress.
  • Rinat Akhmetshin: The Russian lobbyist who attended the Trump Tower meeting with the Russian lawyer testified before Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Grand Jury August 11.
In addition to these three Congressional investigations and the Special Counsel probe…
  • The House Financial Services Committee's Democrats have been looking into Deutsche Bank and whether Trump has been given loans backed by Russian interests.
  • Both the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Department of Defense Inspector General are looking at Flynn's payments with Russia and Turkey. (A federal grand jury in Virginia is also looking into Flynn's business records.)
  • The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee also requested Comey's memos, along with the Senate Intelligence and the Senate Judiciary Committees.
Shannon Vavra 
Axios
Editor's note: This article was originally published on October 1. It has since been updated to add additional testimony.

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